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WATESOL NEWS Connecting Teachers of ESOL in the Washington DC Area

President’s Message Membership News Fall 2014 Conference Reflections

p. 16

Announcements & Upcoming Events


Submission Guidelines


Articles Co-Teaching Roles


Get Techie with Becky


The NNEST Caucus


Says-Does Analysis


Phonological Awareness p.13


I want to start this message by thanking all of you for showing your confidence in me and the new WATESOL Board as we enter our 40th year! I also want to thank Past-President Jacqueline Gardy and the past board members for all of their hard work and success. The board and I will continue to work hard to keep WATESOL successful into its next decade. WATESOL would not exist without you, our members. Last year saw an increase in membership and increased participation at our fall conference. I hope that trend will continue. I encourage everyone to make this organization your own. Your SIG coordinators are there to represent your areas of expertise. Please contact them with questions, comments, or ideas that you want to share with your fellow members, SIG and non-SIG. If you’ve never submitted a proposal to a conference, WATESOL is a great place to start. I did my first proposal as a recently graduated AU TESOL student at the spring conference and have since presented at TESOL and other conferences. This is your organization and we need you to help us guide it. I look forward to my time as WATESOL President. I take this responsibility seriously and am grateful for all the Past-Presidents who have left their mark and all the current board members and their expertise. The board will be meeting in January to plan out the coming year. If you have questions or suggestions, please let us know at any time. Thanks and I look forward to serving you! Bryan Woerner 2014-2016 WATESOL President


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From the Newsletter Editors Welcome to the first issue of 2015! In addition to a welcome message from new WATESOL President Bryan Woerner, this packed issue contains: • A study of ESL and GE teachers’ perceptions of one another’s roles as co-teachers; • A useful model for the successful integration of technology in the language classroom; • An overview of the WATESOL NNEST Caucus; • An article with advice on helping students to notice both content and technique in developing reading and writing skills; • An overview of the brain’s tricky ability to suppress phonological awareness and how teachers can address it in the classroom. The newsletter editors would like to extend their gratitude to all of this issue’s contributors. In future issues, we will honor WATESOL awardees, recognize WATESOL members who presented at TESOL, and continue to offer more interesting and relevant articles connecting research to practice. Your Newsletter Editors, John Mark King & Heather Tatton-Harris

2014-2015 WATESOL Board
 PRESIDENT Bryan Woerner

NEWSLETTER EDITORS John Mark King and Heather Tatton-Harris

VICE PRESIDENT Sharla Branscombe and Heather Weger

SIG LIAISONS Lucy Ruiz and Susie Robinson

PAST PRESIDENT Jacqueline Gardy

HIGHER EDUCATION SIG Kris Lowrey and Melanie Baker


ADULT EDUCATION SIG Alex Galen and Chantal Ross

MEMBERSHIP Masha Vassilieva

K-12 SIG Jennifer Estenos and Melissa Parks

TREASURER Steven Humphries



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teaching ideally involves co-planning, co-reflection on student progress, and teacher collaboration at a curricular level. Across studies, research on coteaching in K – 12 consistently found requisite conditions for successful co-teaching: (a) administrative leadership, (b) administrative supports such as common planning time and feasible schedules, and (c) co-teaching preparation and professional development.

Co-teaching Roles: ESL and General Education Teachers’ Perceptions By Jennifer Norton, EdD Center for Applied Linguistics


Conceptual Framework

As educators in K – 12 contexts face more diverse student populations, some schools use co-teaching to address English language learner (ELL) students’ language and content learning needs simultaneously. Sometimes compared to a marriage, co-teaching means that an English as a second language (ESL) teacher and a general education (GE) teacher deliver instruction to ELLs within one GE classroom, negotiating one another’s roles, attitudes, and content and teaching expertise. To address these complexities, this study examined elementary ESL and GE co-teachers’ perceptions of one another’s roles, in order to inform teacher education, professional development, and school-level support that will foster efficacy in co-teachers.

Based on the review of the literature, co-teachers’ perceptions of one another’s co-teaching roles can be attributed to district- or school-level factors or to teacher-level factors, as summarized in Figure 1. In this conceptual framework, at the district or school level, administrative leadership can help establish clear roles, responsibilities, and expectations, thereby affecting how co-teaching is carried out and setting the tone for teachers’ attitudes and expectations. Administrators can determine logistical supports, such regularly scheduled planning time and reasonable coteaching schedules. At the teacher level, preparation for co-teaching, knowledge of the subject matter, and the pressures of one’s teaching position can affect how roles are perceived. Furthermore, communication style, teacher compatibility, teaching philosophy, and attitudes towards ELLs have been noted as affecting coteaching (Weiss & Lloyd, 2003; DelliCarpini, 2009).

Background on Co-teaching

Co-teaching can take a variety of forms and should be designed based on students’ linguistic and academic needs, the lesson’s objectives, the type of activities in the lesson design, and co-teachers’ preferences and styles (Cook & Friend, 1995; Honigsfeld & Dove, 2010). Co-teachers often use a variety of models depending on the content and language learning objectives at hand: (1) one teaches and one assists, (2) station teaching, (3) parallel teaching, (4) pre-teaching a small group as extra support for the upcoming lesson and (5) team teaching, (6) reteaching, and (7) one leads and one circulates and assesses (Cook & Friend, Figure 1. Conceptual Framework of ESL and GE Co-Teachers’ Perceptions 1995; Honigsfeld & Dove, 2010). In addition, co-

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Methodology This study used survey and qualitative interview design to investigate: (1) How do elementary ESL and GE co-teachers perceive one another’s roles as co-teachers? (2) What professional development offerings do GE and ESL co-teachers of elementary ELLs perceive will help improve their skills as co-teachers? First, respondents selfreported their perceptions of their co-teaching via an online survey (n=61). Then, two ESL teachers (“Melanie” and “Olivia”) and two GE teachers (“Lisa” and “Scott”) participated in semi-structured follow-up interviews. The population consisted of grades K – 5 ESL and GE teachers across 38 elementary schools who cotaught ELLs within the GE classroom in a large school district with approximately 11% ELL students. The district started co-teaching through a small pilot and expanded incrementally. Now, coteaching is required for elementary ESL and GE teachers; no “pull out” instruction is done. The co-teachers in the sample co-taught during regularly scheduled periods. Most GE teachers taught one grade only and co-taught with one or two teachers for less than half of a typical week, whereas most ESL teachers, taught 5–6 different grades with at least 5 teachers, for more than half of a typical week. Overall, most respondents had common planning time once a week.

Some of these tensions appeared in the interview data as well. The GE and ESL teachers insisted on equal responsibility for all aspects of ELLs’ learning, but this perspective seemed like an ideal to strive for. Despite teachers’ collaborative efforts equal roles were not a reality, given the ESL teacher’s presence in the classroom for one daily or weekly time block. For instance, “Lisa”, a GE teacher, did the majority of the planning because she taught the class all week, whether the ESL teacher was there or not. She designed the classroom management procedures and did most of the assessment and grading, though the ESL teacher implemented and had ideas for classroom management and sometimes did grading. Furthermore, she felt ultimately responsible for report cards and parent communication. “Melanie”, an ESL teacher, felt her hectic schedule precluded grading with her GE co-teachers. She counted on the GE teachers to be responsible for the students on a day-to-day basis. However, Melanie perceived respect from GE teachers regarding her expertise in language development. The range of perceptions regarding the details of co-teaching may be due to the uniqueness of coteaching pairs’ working relationships. They may have the freedom to lay out their specific responsibilities depending on logistics, students’ needs, or their teaching styles, or the range of perceptions may be due to confusion regarding who is truly responsible for various aspects of GE classroom teaching and how to share accordingly.

Findings on Role Perceptions Overall, the teachers in this study generally understood one another’s roles. Survey respondents perceived that ESL teachers’ coteaching roles involved using language development expertise and GE teachers’ roles used their expertise in teaching academic curricular content. However, some disagreement over specific roles and responsibilities surfaced. For example, 15.4% of ESL teachers and 17.1% of GE teachers disagreed on how to differentiate instruction, each reporting that differentiation was primarily their responsibility, not the other teacher’s. Similarly, 11.5% of ESL teachers and 22.9% of GE teachers considered teaching language to the ELLs in the class their responsibility, not the other teacher’s.

In the context of this study, ESL teachers appeared to be the main messengers about co-teaching to GE teachers, and some self-identified as “coaches” or capacity builders whose goals included educating GE teachers about serving ELLs in the GE classroom. The onus was on ESL teachers to make entrees into the GE classroom and coach or persuade GE teachers to learn about co-teaching. As Honigsfeld and Dove (2010) described, the leadership of ESL teachers can help shape inclusive teaching models. Given that ESL teachers often do “make the first move” in co-teaching, developing ESL co-teachers as leaders of co-teaching can facilitate ongoing, effective co-teaching relationships (Honigsfeld & Dove, 2010, p. 13). Some ESL teachers expressed a clear purpose of co-teaching, but it was unclear how district and school level administrators described co-teaching

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expectations. GE teachers may not have received the same message about co-teaching.

person can facilitate substantive co-planning, coteaching, and reflection. Together, co-teaching pairs need to co-attend professional development on teaching academic content and on teaching ELLs.

Findings on Co-teachers’ Desired Professional Development The types of desired professional development that were expressed included: (a) observing effective co-teaching, (b) being observed and receiving feedback, (c) attending professional development jointly with one’s co-teacher(s), and (d) making co-teaching a formally recognized form of professional development. Respondents wanted to improve in several areas of co-teaching, including: (a) how to integrate content and language with a co-teacher, (b) how to monitor students’ progress, (c) how to assess students’ learning with a co-teacher, (d) developing language objectives and making content accessible to ELLs (for GE teachers), and (e) learning grade level curricula (for ESL teachers).


Jennifer spent several years as an elementary school teacher before joining the Center for Applied Linguistics and becoming interested researching collaborative teaching practices such as co-teaching. Jennifer’s work has focused on language assessment, standards, teacher input into assessment, and teacher collaboration for the academic achievement of English language learners.

Selected References

In co-teaching practices, ESL teachers might consider: (a) being pro-active in grasping the GE curricula when co-teaching; (b) gently assisting GE teachers in deepening their understanding of ELLs’ needs; and (c) accepting the role of coteaching initiator in many circumstances. GE teachers might: (a) increase their knowledge of language development for ELLs; (b) offer curricular resources to assist ESL teachers in bridging content knowledge gaps; and (c) reflect on shifting away from a single teacher model to a coteaching model. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities is important for co-teaching, as shown in previous research and supported in this study (Arkoudis, 2006; Honigsfeld & Dove, 2010). When leading a transition to co-teaching, policies must be established and disseminated in a coherent, strategic manner. Administrators need to coordinate across departments to ensure consistent messaging and joint training on coteaching implementation. School administrators can facilitate co-teaching efficacy by creating manageable co-teaching schedules and common planning time. Co-teaching should not be used to stretch ESL teachers to serve larger “caseloads”. Limiting the number of co-teaching partners per

About the Author

Arkoudis, S. (2006). Negotiating the rough ground between ESL and mainstream teachers. The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 9(4), 415–433. Cook, L. & Friend, M. (1995). Co-teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(3), 1–16. DelliCarpini, M. (2009). Dialogues across disciplines: preparing English as a second language teachers for interdisciplinary collaboration. Current Issues in Education, 11(2). Honigsfeld, A. & Dove, M.G. (2010). Collaboration and co-teaching: Strategies for English learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Weiss, M.P. & Lloyd, J.W. (2003). Conditions for co-teaching: Lessons from a case study. Teacher Education and SPED, (26)1, 27–41.

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Gettin’ Techie with Becky! By Becky Shiring (Resident Technology Integration Guru) Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School

Tech Integration: It’s as easy as S-A-M-R Integrating technology into the classroom can feel intimidating. As an instructional coach, I am often asked, “with all of these tech tools out there, how do I even know where to start!?” The answer is pretty simple. Think about a really great lesson you already have, one that is tried and true, and find a place to enhance that lesson with technology. But please don’t use technology just for technology’s sake (or because it just makes you look so cool teaching with an iPad!). It is important that classroom technology integration is done in a thoughtful way. Look for ways to augment, enhance or redefine that tried and true lesson with technology. Still trying to figure out where to start? Enter the SAMR model. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition and was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. The model helps support teachers in planning for technology integration. In the substitution phase, the technology acts as a direct tool substitute, for example, using word processing software to type an essay instead of pen and paper. The augmentation phase allows for the technology to act as direct substitute with some functional improvement, like using an online dictionary with word pronunciation. The modification phase allows for task redesign, such as, creating an animated comic strip out of a dialogue. Finally, the redefinition phase allows for creation of new tasks previously inconceivable, like using Google Docs to create a collaborative story in which three students can be writing at the same time while the teacher also has access and can comment on the work. The SAMR model works like Bloom’s taxonomy where the tasks increasingly get more challenging and meaningful as you move from substitution to redefinition. Additionally, teachers themselves often follow this progression as they move forward and become more comfortable in teaching and learning with technology. Take a moment to think about your experience and level of comfort with technology. If you're new to teaching with technology, start simple by substituting and augmenting. Let’s consider some of those tried and true lessons and how we can substitute, augment, modify and redefine the learning with technology. Starting simple, instead of using a big clunky dictionary, have students use an online dictionary such as Merriam-Webster’s Learner's Dictionary or download the free app. These tools allow students to listen to word pronunciation and see synonyms, grammar tips, common idioms and many other cool features. I bet the old 10,000 page Oxford collecting dust on your shelf can’t do that! What do we do now with all of these newly acquired vocabulary words? Some might stick them in a coffee-stained vocabulary notebook. Why not keep track of new vocabulary words in a Google Spreadsheet or with Frayer model-esque slides in Google Presentations. Because these tools are cloud based and have accompanying smartphone apps, students can have access anytime, anywhere to add new words or study old ones.

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As ESL teachers, dictations are a go to classroom activity. Instead of standing at the front of the room reading and repeating (and repeating again), why not record yourself reading the dictation using Vocaroo or SoundCloud. Students can then listen to the dictation at their own pace allowing the teacher to differentiate instruction for multilevel classrooms. Another common language activity is dialogue creation. This helps students to practice using specific language and apply that language to new situations. Instead of the old paper-pencil dialogue activity of the past, try using a simple movie maker like DVolver to see dialogues come to life. This allows students to practice language targets and exercise creative muscles too! And how about those trusty timelines? Figuring out where to properly place tick marks to indicate events over a hundred year span is enough to make the spatially disoriented like myself go insane! Problem solved. Interactive timeline creators like ReadWriteThink’s Timeline or Tiki-Toki allow for the creation of dynamic timelines that can include images, video and links that develop not only students’ language but also internet navigation skills. Every good lesson has an opportunity to become great by integrating technology. Technology helps personalize the learning experience making tasks more meaningful for students. Don’t be intimidated by tech integration. Just remember, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Start small by substituting and before you know it your classroom will be redefined. For more info check out Kathy Schrock’s SAMR guide

Submit your tech questions, suggestions, and comments to Becky Shiring at Techie Becky’s column will appear in each edition of the WATESOL News.

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The WATESOL NNEST Caucus Brock Brady - U.S. Peace Corps -

Abstract While the NNEST (Non-Native English Speakers in TESOL) Interest Section of the TESOL International Association has in many ways become the home of the NNEST Movement, its considerable progress in NNEST research, advocacy and support often does not effectively extend beyond professional associations and academic to the schools and programs where the bulks of English instruction takes place. NNEST groups in local or regional English teaching associations can serve to bridge this gap. One example is the NNEST Caucus of the WATESOL (Washington, DC Area TESOL) association. Discrimination against those who were not born native speakers of English or are perceived by others to have a nonnative accent is a bias particular to the English teaching profession. That such prejudices exist in the field is of particular concern because the profession espouses a commitment to multiculturalism, tolerance, (see TESOL International Association Mission, Credo, and Core Values, 2015). The need to right these perceived wrongs and to create a inclusive, supportive environment for English teacher whose first language was not English resulted in the NNNEST (Nonnative English Speaking Teacher) Movement which coalesced and grew to a large extent through the NNEST (Non-Native English Speakers in TESOL) NNEST Caucus (which became a TESOL association Interest Section in 2008) which was founded in 1998. Since 1998, a rich field of research, NNEST studies, has flourished and advocacy in the form of awareness raising has been very successful within the TESOL association (as is evidenced by the number of members of the NNEST Caucus and the number of NNESTS who have been chosen for leadership and editorial positions in the association and the number of TESOL supported publications and conference presentations on the NNEST topics). Success is also generally perceived in terms of greater acceptance of NNEST students and professors in teacher education and university ESL programs in North America, the UK, and the antipodes (Braine, 2010).

confines of national or international English teacher associations and academia. One approach to bridging this awareness gap is the foundation and activities of local or regional NNEST entities. One well-established example is the NNEST Caucus of WATESOL (the Washington, DC Area TESOL Association). The NNEST Caucus of WATESOL was established during the 2004 WATESOL Fall Convention at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA. Over the years is membership roles have grown to more than 60 members, the Caucus has seen publications from many members and several Caucus members have served in leadership roles in the TESOL International Association. The Caucus was established along the lines of the TESOL International NNEST Caucus to counter discrimination against NNESTs and to help educate TESOL professionals, administrators, and employers to the benefits that NNESTs bring to English language classroom. As established, that goals of the WATESOL NNEST Caucus are:

However awareness of the inequity of NNEST discrimination often does not extend beyond the

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• Build awareness among WATESOLers about NNEST issues, especially the strengths that NNESTs often bring to English Language Teaching • Contact local institutions making the case for NNESTs, and asking the institutions to fully and fairly consider NNEST candidates when making hiring decisions


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• Provide job search advice and counseling for NNESTs, especially those trying to get started. • Create a reference service where participating NNESTs can provide tips on their home educational cultures to NEST WATESOL members planning go abroad to teach in the NNESTs' home countries. • Encourage collaboration between fellow NNESTS, and between both NNESTs and NESTs, both in terms of research and in peer teaching. Like the NNEST Interest Section of the TESOL International Association, WATESOL NNEST Caucus activities can be categorized according to three major foci, research, advocacy, and professional support.


Research Despite the fact that at any given moment the most active NNEST Caucus members are graduate students, members have contributed more than two-dozen publications to the NNEST research field and many more presentations at TESOL International Association conventions. The Caucus’ most notable research achievement is the 2010 NNEST Annual Review, which contains peerreviewed articles by Caucus members as well as internationally acknowledged researchers including George Braine and Ahmar Mahboob. A pair of unique studies in the anthology are two articles by Kumiko Akikawa and Hui-jin Yang: selfperception studies comparing their approaches to teaching ESL in their required MA TESOL practicum course to teaching their native languages (Japanese and Mandarin respectively) in university courses to American students. The NNEST Caucus also collaborated with American University in Washington DC to host American’s 2007 Summer Intensive Workshop titled, NNESTs At Work: Principles and practices for nonnative English speaking teachers. In addition the Caucus is accorded annual presentation sessions at both the WATESOL Fall Convention and the association’s Spring Conference. Over the years, those sessions have transitioned from educating the audience about the NNEST movement to research topics within

the field. The presentations are always in a colloquium format and include both graduate students and faculty. Presentations topics are agreed upon through consensus and based on presenter research and person experience. Some of the titles include, How We Teach as NNESTS World Englishes, Multilingual, Multicultural Teachers: Teaching as both a native and non-native speaker, Teaching Pronunciation without Privileging a Particular Accent Sociopolitical and Educational Perspectives on the Role of Accent in Teachers' Pedagogical Decisions, English in a Multilingual World, Reconsidering ELT in Light of English as an International Language Pedagogy and Why the Native Teacher Fallacy Disadvantages both NESTs and NNESTs.

Outreach efforts include regular presentations to students in graduate programs in the Washington DC area to build their awareness of the NNEST movement and encourage their involvement to letter or email writing campaigns to administrators in English language programs informing them of NNEST issues and encouraging them to avoid discrimination in employment. Electronically, an active Caucus listserv and a website have long existed with the website providing access to the 2010 NNEST Caucus Annual Review. Caucus Member Sherrie Carroll has provided a long-time model on NNEST Advocacy as Director of the English as a Second Language, Workforce Development & Continuing Education Program of Montgomery College in Rockville, MD, where she has had an explicit policy of hiring and advocating for NNEST teachers in her program.

Professional Support The Caucus has quarterly meetings that are both convivial and professional. Activities include reports of discrimination against NNESTs (and potential responses) and preparing for WATESOL related presentations or newsletters. Member research is discussed and actively supported. Graduate students make up a high percentage of the membership and they are mentored in their research by established members of the Caucus.

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through mentoring both for publication and to take on leadership roles.

Challenges While the membership of the WATESOL NNEST Caucus has fluctuated between 35 and 60+ members over the years, many are members in name only. Active members typically number between a half a dozen and a dozen and are often international graduate students who are in the Washington DC area only for relatively short periods of time. This is particularly a problem in terms of maintaining a leadership stream, and the Caucus periodically struggles to maintain operational capacity.

Pedagogical Implications Pedagogical implications concern two different audiences: student teachers and English language students: Teacher Education: raising graduate student awareness of typical pedagogical strengths and weaknesses of both NNESTs and NESTs serves to reinforce concepts from intercultural communications courses with the context of their profession. It encourages collaboration between NNESTs and NESTs and in dealing with issues of teacher self esteem and efficacy; it helps student teachers develop their professional voice. It contextualizes issues of accent in pronunciation teaching, differing educational norms in terms of pedagogy and plagiarism, and builds a sense of community through sharing differences. Additionally comparison strengths and weaknesses frequent to NNESTs or NESTs can develop in student teachers a sense of areas in which they need to enhance their skills or expertise.

ESL/EFL Students: An NNEST orientation to pedagogy in the English classroom may often involve student awareness raising, for example encouraging students to think of themselves as English users, ready to use the English they have now, and not English learners—lost in a perpetual state of “getting ready to use English.” NNEST pedagogical orientations also emphasize NNESTs serving as attainable models of successful English users, and the empowerment and motivation that English students can gain from having an instructor who can empathize with their learning challenges. Similarly NNEST may be better able to communicate to learners realistic expectations about the English learning process and may be emphasize communication repair strategies and as well as communication strategies such as active listening to help learners interact in English more confidently.

References Brady, B. Editor. (2010). The NNEST Caucus Annual Review. watesolnnestcaucus/caucus-annual-review. Retrieved, January 10, 2015 Braine, G. (2010). Nonnative Speaker English Teachers: Research, Pedagogy, and Professional Growth. New York, NY: Routledge TESOL International Association (2015). TESOL Mission & Core Values. about-tesol/association-governance/missionand-values Retrieved, January 10, 2015.

Moreover, given the development of the NNEST movement, there is a strong commitment to bring student teachers into professional associations


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Boost Reading & Writing Skills With Says-Does Analysis

Figure 1 - Songkran My favorite holiday is Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year. We celebrate Songkran from April 13 to April 15. Most businesses, schools, and banks are closed. Many people who live in big cities go back to their hometowns for three days to celebrate with their family and friends. At the beginning of Songkran, we clean our houses. We also cook traditional Thai food such as pad Thai for our family and friends. We usually wear new clothes and to the temple to pray and give food to the monks. Young people sprinkle water on their parents’ and grandparents’ hands to show respect.

Nancy Overman Georgetown University

“Says-does” analysis, first suggested by Peter Elbow, teaches students to take notes on content (what the article says) but also on writing techniques (what the writer does to communicate ideas clearly) (Elbow, 1981). An awareness of what the article says and how the author organizes information can boost students’ reading comprehension and guide their writing choices. Taking notes on content is a common target skill in ESL classes. Students look for specific information, e.g. the 5Ws and H, or summarize the main ideas of each paragraph. However, training students in “does” analysis makes readers into writers by revealing an author’s writing choices. For example, students might note that the writer uses an anecdote to begin the article, divides the thesis into three reasons, gives two examples, and anticipates and addresses objections. Students can use this awareness of content and writing choices to understand a reading and to see how the writer makes a point, advances an argument, and emphasizes ideas. For a simple example, see Figure 1. This passage on a Thai holiday (from Ready to Write 1) introduces students to “does” analysis by providing margin notes that students must match with appropriate sentences (Blanchard and Root, 2010). This technique can be used with lower-level and advanced students, introducing the skills of “reading like a reader” (predicting, questioning, etc.) vs. “reading like a writer” (identifying organization, voice, punctuation) (Peha, 2008). For example, with guidance, even beginning-level students can learn to analyze an introduction: identifying how the writer begin the introduction with a hook (e.g. startling statistic, anecdote), then locating and underlining the thesis at the end of the introduction. In body paragraphs, students can identify the number of supporting examples in

Then, the real fun begins. Everyone goes outdoors. There are parades and beauty contests in the streets. Children and adults stand on the side of the road and throw water on people passing by. In fact, Songkran is famous for splashing water and even water fights. It’s very hot, so no one really minds getting wet. All over Thailand, Songkran is a time for fun, family, and getting wet. If you plan to visit Thailand during Songkran, make your hotel reservations early. Also, leave your camera in your hotel room because it will get wet! From: Ready To Write 1, by Blanchard and Root, p. 68 Directions: How does the author describe Songkran? Use these seven phrases to underline and label each part of the paragraph. Then write the letters in the correct order below. a.

Tells when the holiday occurs


Explains how people feel


Gives the name of the holiday


Makes recommendations for visitors


Gives the meaning of the holiday


Describes traditional, serious behaviors


Explains fun activities during the holiday

Correct order: _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ [Answers: c e a f g b d ]

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Figure 2 - The Dream Doctor Do you want to know what your dreams mean? Just ask the dream doctor. The dream doctor is Charles McPhee. McPhee does dream analysis. He helps people understand their dreams. McPhee thinks that dreams are about the present, about ideas, desires, and problems. He believes that analyzing dreams can help people to have a better life. McPhee believes that it’s important to remember dreams. He has advice on how to do this. He says to take time in the morning to think about your dreams. Don’t be in a hurry to start your day. McPhee thinks that it’s important to keep a dream journal, a notebook for dreams, to write down information about your dreams as soon as you wake up. Try first to remember the mood of the dream. Was it happy, sad, or anxious? McPhee gives two suggestions about remembering dreams. What are they? A. Think about your dreams when you wake up, and don’t be in a hurry. B. Think about your dreams when you wake up, and keep a dream journal. C. Keep a dream journal, and write down information about your dreams. D. Write down information about your dream, and write down the mood first. * Reading excerpt is from Interactions Access Teacher’s Edition, 2004, by Kirn and Hartmann, Ch. 6 Test Test question by Overman, 2014

a body paragraph. Figure 2 shows an example of a modified reading test question which asks students to evaluate nine sentences in a paragraph to identify the two main points (suggestions on how to remember dreams). It is important for students to see that not all sentences are equally important. Some sentences reinforce a previous sentence or add details. Learning to use “says-does” analysis makes the reading clearer to students; it can also strengthen

writing skills: after identifying these techniques, students can transfer this knowledge to their own writing on a different topic. For example, after the “does” analysis margin notes in Figure 1 are in the correct order, students can write about a new holiday, following the same writing techniques as the original writer. A new paragraph, on a different holiday, would begin with the name of the holiday, followed by the meaning of the day, the traditional date, how the day is celebrated, etc. “Says-does” analysis and “reading like a writer” provide students with examples of good writing that students can draw on when planning their own writing. It also heightens students’ awareness of writing techniques and trains them to watch for these techniques in other assigned readings. Thus, students receive frequent reinforcement of writing strategies through their reading materials.

About the Author In 28 years at Georgetown University, Nancy Overman has taught many levels and skills from basic-level reading to freshman composition. She has conducted online business English classes for students in Panama, satellite TV classes for the African Virtual University, and training for ESL teachers in China.

References Blanchard, K., & Root, C. (2010). Ready to Write 1. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education ESL. Elbow, P. (1998). Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Kirn, C., & Hartmann, P. (2004). Interactions 1 Reading Teacher's Edition (Silver ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Peha, S. (2013, November 17). Read Like a Reader, Read Like a Writer. Retrieved January 1, 2015 from Read Like a Reader-Writer v001 (Full).pdf

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of a unique positioning of jaw, lips and tongue in the environment of the vocal tract.

Phonological Awareness: What your brain doesn’t want you to know

Now imagine being aware of that… and then take a moment to thank your brain for keeping you in the dark. By being kept in the dark phonologically, you are able to function on a daily basis: ask a question at the store, share a loving thought with a friend, disagree with a colleague, advocate for a child. Your brain gives you the gift of phonological suppression.

Robin Barr American University TESOL Program Karen Taylor de Caballero English Language Training Solutions

Why does this matter?

Presenting at the WATESOL Fall Convention was particularly gratifying this year. With participants saying things like “mind blowing” on their way out the door after our session, we were pretty sure folks enjoyed themselves. We’d like to share highlights from that workshop with you. The first part of our workshop title, “Phonological Awareness,” may have been off-putting to anyone skimming the program book for interesting presentations to attend, but 24 people were nonetheless compelled to find out what, precisely, their brain doesn’t want them to know.

What doesn’t my brain want me to know? In short, your brain doesn’t want you to know how you communicate. Specifically, it doesn’t want you to notice all the strange little grunts, puffs, hisses, tones, and other noises that go into conveying a message when you speak.

Why doesn’t my brain want me to know this? Think of it as a favor your brain does for you. If you had to consciously plan for each sound in each word you were about to utter, you’d have great difficulty thinking about the message you wanted to convey. Take, for example, the phrase: “It’s kind of complicated.” [ɪtskayndəkámplɪkeydɪd] Consider that phrase in terms of voicing: in the course of saying “It’s kind of complicated,” you will alternate between voiced and unvoiced sounds nine times. Now consider that same phrase in terms of phonemes: in just four words consisting of seven syllables, your vocal tract produces no fewer than 19 distinct sounds, each one the result

While phonological suppression is necessary for your own fluent and effective communication, it is not sufficient when placed in the context of teaching someone else how to communicate. As a teacher of language, you need to be able to lift your head above the water of phonological suppression to see—to hear—what is really happening when you speak. In other words, you need to be phonologically aware. Practically put, your students may be noticing things about your own language that you are not aware of. In teaching, you must be aware of what you’re doing when you speak in order to validate students’ perceptions of your speech. Validating students’ perception of your own speech is easier said than done. That’s because the acoustics of your spoken English is not the same as what you think you’re modeling. Meanwhile, your students 1) are hearing what is actually coming out of your mouth; and 2) are filtering that through their own language system. Any attempt to say “just repeat after me” is therefore doomed to failure. Imitation is not enough.

Um… can you give an example? Here is a list of words that our audience recited together at the start of the workshop using only kazoos (to increase our collective awareness of word stress): variation, pronunciation, usual, music, and huge. We’ll return to them later. Consider the the first of these words, “variation.” Chances are, when you read this word aloud, you sensed a one-to-one correspondence between the written word and its spoken version; you felt like this word was entirely “sound-outable.”

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What would explain this misperception? There are actually two sounds at the beginning of “usual:” the /u/ of BLUE and something else in front of it. To prove this to yourself, compare the words “fool” and “fuel”. We gave workshop participants minimal pairs like this one and asked them to discover the difference between the two ‘u’s. The answer: invisible consonant /y/-- again! Throughout the workshop, participants took part in kinesthetic consciousness-raising activities including Color Vowel™ Yoga, “kazoo orchestra” work, and lollipop training, through which they were able to notice exactly what their jaws, lips, and tongues were doing when they made various sounds.

Participants explore the question: How many phonemes are in the word "variation"?

All of this work paid off when, upon returning to our original list of words, everyone suddenly noticed the ‘invisible /y/’ popping out:

Now ask yourself: How many phonemes (individual sounds) are in the word “variation”? Participants worked in small groups to answer this question. Answers ranged from four to eight sounds. This range of answers illustrates how effectively our brains hide phonological information from us, itself a revelation.

variYation, pronunciYation, Yusual, mYusic, hYuge

With some analysis, we were able to observe that “variation” has no fewer than nine distinct phonemes: [verɪyéyʃən]

Phonological Awareness and Teacher Professionalism

The phoneme hidden from many of us is the /y/ that connects the second and third syllables, noted more visibly like this: variYation. We can refer to this instance of /y/ as an “invisible sound”-- a sound not represented in the spelling of the word. (We’re much more familiar with the opposite term: “silent letter”, like the ‘e’ in “have”, or the ‘gh’ in “though.”)

More examples of invisible /y/ Consider this: What is the first sound in “usual”? Most teachers will say “u”, or perhaps “long u,” because that is the letter name. Users of the Color Vowel™ Chart (Taylor & Thompson, 2009) might say that “usual” starts with a BLUE sound. Interestingly, however, we often get requests from Color Vowel™ Chart users asking for an “additional color” to represent the ‘long u’ vowel, because they don’t think BLUE is sufficient.

Learn more about how The Color Vowel™ Chart addresses invisible /y/ (and invisible /w/ as well!) at

We impressed upon our audience that the English language is filled with phonological surprises that the unaware teacher stumbles into daily and often unwittingly, of which invisible /y/ is only one. To anticipate these surprises, to equip oneself to make informed sense of them, is to be a phonologically aware teacher of English. Despite the importance of phonological awareness, many language teachers are not themselves phonologically aware (Joshi, Binks, et al. 2009), and this negatively impacts teaching quality (Wright & Bolitho, 1993). Meanwhile, teaching phonological awareness is crucial for learners of English because the written form of English is often mistaken for a phonetic system when it is not. (The word “read,” for example, can be pronounced as [riyd] or [rɛd] depending on tense.) While English utilizes an alphabetical writing system, one can count neither on each letter to represent a sound, nor on each sound to be represented by a unique letter. This

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complex relationship between spoken and written English has implications for learning to read fluently (Joshi, Binks, et al., 2009) and speak comprehensibly (Venkatagiri & Levis, 2007).

Some concluding thoughts Steven Pinker (2014) has a great chapter about “The Curse of Knowledge” in his new book about style in which he explores why academic papers are often horribly written. He says, “The main cause of incomprehensible prose is the difficulty of imagining what it’s like for someone else not to know something that you know.” What Pinker says of bad writing could just as easily be said of bad language teaching. English teachers, especially native speakers, are also victims of this curse: it is very difficult to imagine that our students do not hear the same things that we think we do. A large part of knowing something is suppressing the irrelevant information – to speakers of the language, anything but the abstract phoneme is usually irrelevant. The writing system does not include this irrelevant information, and usually we only pay attention to the actual sounds of the language when someone isn’t following our unconscious phonological rules – that is, when they have an accent. But if you don’t know what it is that you do when you speak the language, you cannot accurately identify what they are doing that is different. It is for this and other reasons that we are committed to promoting phonological awareness as a focus of life-long learning and professional development. We enjoyed providing our attendees with a taste of this essential awareness, and we are looking forward to diving deeper into phonological awareness with other “mind blowing” activities at our 4-hour Pre-Convention Institute at TESOL this March.

About the Authors Robin Barr holds a PhD in Linguistics from Harvard and specializes in phonology and psycholinguistics. Robin is Linguist In Residence at American University and teaches in the MA TESOL Program. Robin also tutors low-literacy dyslexic adults at the Washington Literacy Center. Karen Taylor de Caballero is an educational linguist and teacher trainer. Karen is Director of English Language Training Solutions in Santa Fe, NM, and is co-author of The Color Vowel™ Chart.

References Joshi, R.M., Binks E. et al. (2009). Why elementary teachers might be inadequately prepared to teach reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 2(5), 392-402. Pinker, S. (2014). The Sense of Style: the Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Viking Penguin: New York. Taylor, K. & Thompson, S. (1999, 2012). The Color Vowel™ Chart: English Language Training Solutions: Santa Fe. Venkatagiri, H.S. & Levis, J.M. (2007). Phonological awareness and speech comprehensibility: An exploratory study. Language Awareness, 16(4). Wright, T. & Bloitho, R. (1993). Language awareness: A missing link in language teacher education? ELT Journal, 47(4), 292-304.

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Fall 2014 Conference Reflections Thanks to everyone who made the WATESOL Fall Conference such a success. We had 153 participants, 56 presenters doing 35 presentations, and 10 volunteers.

Jacqueline Gardy passes the gavel to Bryan Woerner.

William Woodard discusses using Google Apps for writing

Phonological awareness with Karen Taylor, Shirley Thompson and Robin Barr

Walton Babich and Mary Beth Worrilow talk metaphors in writing

Dr. Fran Gunilello shares ideas on teaching and learning pronunciation

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Upcoming Events & Announcements Event



WATESOL Breakfast at TESOL in Toronto

Saturday, March 28th, from 7:30am-9:00am

See for details

WATESOL Fall Conference Proposal Deadline

June 15, 2015

WATESOL Fall Conference (40th Anniversary)

October 17-18, 2015

Are you a WATESOL member who is presenting at TESOL 2015 in Toronto? Please send the title of your presentation to so that we can recognize you in the next newsletter.

Newsletter Submission Guidelines We welcome submissions to our newsletter. Contact for questions. Contributions can include: connecting research to practice, current topics of interest to the membership, and teaching tips.
 Guidelines include: • 1,500 words or less, including tables • Up to 5 citations, following APA citation style • 2-3 sentence author biography • Author photo (digital head shot) • Include a byline with your name, email, and affiliation

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WATESOL News Winter/Spring 2015  
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